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Thread: Shop heater?

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  1. #1

    Default Shop heater?

    I am curious as to bang for the buck heaters? Currently I have a duraheat kerosene heater for my 18x30 insulated/attached garage.It works fine and puts out enough BTUs for me BUT 1k kerosene seems to be "readily" available only at Lowes and Home Depot. I would gladly keep using this unit if it didn't cost me $50 after taxes for 5 gallons....I have used forced hot air kerosene heaters(they run on kero or diesel) and they work well but are noisy and I guess the turbulence would mess with my TIG work. The heater I have now is great but it WILL NOT run on diesel or kerosene other than 1k.....it clogs the wick and wastes it. Realistically it costs me about $150/month as often as I go out there. I need heat it from ambient temperature to a comfortable temp to work in. Seems most propane heaters aren't that efficient....am I wrong? If you were going to buy one what would you go with? My garage is fully insulated. Dave

  2. #2
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    Cool

    Do you have natural gas avail? I use blue flame gas wall heaters...Bob
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  3. #3

    Default

    yes, house has forced hot air.
    Quote Originally Posted by aametalmaster View Post
    Do you have natural gas avail? I use blue flame gas wall heaters...Bob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default BTU/dollar

    A different way to look at it is to figure out BTU per dollar.

    Propane is 92500 Btu/gal

    Kerosene is 135,000 Btu/gal

    Natural gas is 100,000 Btu/therm

    Figure out how many dollars you pay for kerosene and propane, BTU/gal divided by $/gallon will give you BTU/$. Obviously higher BTU is better.

    However, there is another factor, efficiency. A Duraheat heater has no exhaust pipe, so all the heat goes the space, 100% efficient. Sounds good? You are also potentially putting carbon monoxide and other pollutants in your workspace. You are also burning the oxygen in your workspace. Not so good. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?

    The usual natural gas or propane shop heaters that hang from the ceiling have an exhaust stack, so about 30% of the BTUs go up the stack. But minimal risk of carbon monoxide in your workspace. A house type forced air furnace may be 85 to 95% efficient, just look at the rating.

    You do the math, or give me more information and I can do the math. Pretty simple math, but hard to put a value on cleaner air.

    Richard

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delhi, Ontario:
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    1,970

    Default

    My shop is not as big as yours, but what I run is a 4800 watt - 240 volt heater & it works great !

    Norm

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  6. #6

    Default

    What one? Does it sky rocket your electric bill? I am not looking for 70 degrees.....I just want to get it around 55....that's what I consider cozy for working.....I don't have a problem if it takes an hour to warm up......just wanna take the chill out. I am either going electric or nat gas.
    Quote Originally Posted by nfinch86 View Post
    My shop is not as big as yours, but what I run is a 4800 watt - 240 volt heater & it works great !

    Norm

  7. #7

    Default

    What info do you need? Dave
    Quote Originally Posted by raferguson View Post
    A different way to look at it is to figure out BTU per dollar.

    Propane is 92500 Btu/gal

    Kerosene is 135,000 Btu/gal

    Natural gas is 100,000 Btu/therm

    Figure out how many dollars you pay for kerosene and propane, BTU/gal divided by $/gallon will give you BTU/$. Obviously higher BTU is better.

    However, there is another factor, efficiency. A Duraheat heater has no exhaust pipe, so all the heat goes the space, 100% efficient. Sounds good? You are also potentially putting carbon monoxide and other pollutants in your workspace. You are also burning the oxygen in your workspace. Not so good. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?

    The usual natural gas or propane shop heaters that hang from the ceiling have an exhaust stack, so about 30% of the BTUs go up the stack. But minimal risk of carbon monoxide in your workspace. A house type forced air furnace may be 85 to 95% efficient, just look at the rating.

    You do the math, or give me more information and I can do the math. Pretty simple math, but hard to put a value on cleaner air.

    Richard

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    203

    Default Info needed and preliminary calculations.

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyWelder View Post
    What info do you need? Dave
    Cost per gallon of propane in your area. If you have it in terms of pounds I can convert that to gallons. The cost of propane right now is pretty high, so I don't think that the current cost is really representative. I might use $3/gal, although the average price in the US for the last year was less than $3, maybe $2.50 or so.

    Cost per gallon of kerosene, which I think that said was around $10/gal

    Cost per therm for natural gas, assuming that natural gas is available to you.

    The other question is what kind of heater you might use. The kerosene heater is unvented, I believe. If you used propane or natural gas, would you use one of those heaters that typically hang near the ceiling in a warehouse, or something else? I guess that there are unvented propane heaters. As you probably noticed, I am not a fan of unvented heaters.

    I will do a quick sample calculation:

    Kerosene 135,000 BTU/gal / $10/gal = 13,500 BTU per dollar

    Propane 92,500 BTU/gal / $3/gal = 30833 BTU/dollar

    Natural gas 100,000 Btu/therm / $1.50/therm = 66,666 BTU/dollar

    Electricity is 3400 BTU/kw-hr / $0.12/kw-hr = 28333 BTU/dollar

    So you can quickly see that Natural gas is the cheapest, followed by propane, followed by electricity, followed by kerosene. You just get more BTUs for your money.

    I will assume that your kerosene heater is 100% efficient, and the propane heater is 70% efficient. The propane cost then becomes 21,583 BTU per dollar, a little more than half of the kerosene cost.

    Electric resistance heaters are 100% efficient, so that would make electricity cheaper than a propane furnace operating at 70% efficiency.

    Will that pay you to install a new propane heater?

    You would probably spend $1000 or so for a warehouse type propane or natural gas heater. I will assume that you install it yourself.

    Right now you are spending about $150/month on kerosene, but this is the coldest part of the year. I am going to assume that you have three months at $150/mo, and three months at $50/mo, for a total cost of $600 per year. You could maybe cut that to $350/year with propane, and maybe as low as $200/yr with natural gas. Electricity would probably be around $300/yr.

    Basically, in four years you would get your money back from propane, maybe 2.5 years with natural gas.

    Electric space heaters are much cheaper than $1000, maybe $200 to $500. Clean heat, cheaper than kerosene. I paid $50 for a 220V electric heater from Craigslist, that looks like a pretty good investment. I am not in my shop every day, so my heating costs are not high. I think that in your situation I would probably just go electric, unless you have access to natural gas. Obviously I assume that you have adequate electricity in your shop.

    A propane heater might heat your shop faster than electricity, so that is another issue.

    Then you have to consider intangibles, like hassle factor, safety, convenience, etc.

    I think that these numbers are reasonable and hardly surprising. As you have already found, kerosene is expensive, propane is a popular heating fuel with moderate cost, electricity is also a popular heating fuel, and natural gas is the cheapest heat of all.

    Richard
    Last edited by raferguson; 02-16-2014 at 09:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    555

    Default

    Ha, oh boy do I know your pain. I love hydronic heating as much as the next guy, but dang I had a bear of a time on the last house I finished. Remodel, had to cut a 18x7 pad out for a new structural fireplace, in floor heat. Took me a few full days "excavating" around the cut tubes to reroute and reconnect.

    Making a map would be sweet but a little unreliable as things move quite a bit in a pour. Now days I borrow my friends thermal imager. You can see an entire grid, works amazingly well. Then you can drill and set anchors with confidence.
    Last edited by Cgotto6; 02-19-2014 at 07:50 PM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cgotto6 View Post
    Ha, oh boy do I know your pain. I love hydronic heating as much as the next guy, but dang I had a bear of a time on the last house I finished. Remodel, had to cut a 18x7 pad out for a new structural fireplace, in floor heat. Took me a few full days "excavating" around the cut tubes to reroute and reconnect.

    Making a map would be sweet but a little unreliable as things move quite a bit in a pour. Now days I borrow my friends thermal imager. You can see an entire grid, works amazingly well. Then you can drill and set anchors with confidence.
    Cgotto6,

    Thermal imager??? Well sure, if you just want to do everything the easy way.

    But seriously, that hadn't even occurred to me that it was a possibility.

    Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
    Will Argue for Beer (any issue, either side)

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